Go ahead and indulge this holiday season
Indulging is good for the soul; a single slice of pie can bring a measure of happiness that is hard to find elsewhere. But there is such a thing as diminishing returns on each consecutive slice of pie. And while overindulgence is symptomatic of the holiday season, it is always worth keeping things in perspective when it comes to your physical fitness. At Holmes Chiropractic, we are in the business of body balance- and the holiday season is a consistent challenge for the fitness of our patients. Here are some friendly holiday reminders from your chiropractor.
What is more relaxing than reading in bed?
Likewise watching Netflix or television from bed is many a person’s way to wind down. But it’s no secret that relaxing in bed can cause its fair share of trauma to the spine. While we would never sit here and deny you the pleasure of recreating in bed, it is prudent to set your spine up so that it incurs the least possible damage. For the purpose of this blog, we will use reading in bed as the model activity, but the same principles can be applied to using a laptop or cell phone in bed.
When it comes to spinal health habits, everyone has room for improvement
The most ubiquitous spinal habits which cause harm include:
- Poor diet
- Poor posture
- Poor lifting technique
- Lack of exercise
- Overuse of technology
Many of these malefactors go hand-in-hand; for example, lack of exercise and poor diet leads to weight gain which makes good posture more difficult; overuse of technology contributes to lack of exercise and poor posture. But all of these factors lead down the same road, the one that points toward back pain. The sooner we realize this, the sooner we can start exercising control over the factors that matter for keeping our spines healthy.
Sleeping begins with comfort
Who can really fall sleep with their knees touching and their legs stuck together? Who is ready to dream with their head sinking lower into a lumpy pillow? The first ingredient of any successful sleep strategy is comfort- comfort leads to calm, and calm leads to relaxation. This is an important transition: calmness is a working state of perfect harmony between your mental, physical and emotional states; relaxation, on the other hand, allows your body to reduce its expenditure of energy and focus on getting to sleep.One of the best ways you can get comfortable tonight is by using your pillows to better effect. Paying attention to your pillow(s) can make a big difference when it comes to falling and staying asleep; strategically positioning pillows can help you support healthy sleeping posture, promote better circulation, and prevent back pain.
The downward force of gravity is ever present
No matter what position you are in, or how good your posture, there is still a burden being placed on your spine; as a result of its position in the body, the brunt of this pressure is born by the lumbar segment of your spine. Studies have measured the amount of pressure sustained by intervertebral discs in the lumbar spine of a healthy person which show that:
- Lying on your back: ~25kg
- Standing upright: ~100kg
- Sitting upright: ~125kg
These numbers increase when you do things like lean forward, bear weight, or lift. Because this pressure is ever-present, a common side effect is for the spine to fall out of alignment, a condition known as subluxation.
Why is core stability important
Your core is the foundation of musculoskeletal wellness. Most movements you undertake on a daily basis originate in the core, or at least utilize it in some manner. The core forms a link between the upper and lower body and weakness in this crucial center link underpins a lot of musculoskeletal dysfunction that can lead to immobility, pain and degeneration, especially in the spine. The spine can be used to stabilize the spine and transfer forces across the body from the smallest acts such as bending over to tie your shoes to bigger acts such as the heavy lifting involved in construction work. Let’s take a closer look at one of the most important muscles of the core and how paying attention to it can prevent back pain.
Chiropractic can change the way you think about your health
Chiropractic theory treats the spine as the foundation for wellness. As chiropractors, we do everything in our power to ensure the integrity of that foundation through natural modalities. Along the way, we would like to show you why this is the right way of going about things. Rather than a reactive form of health care, we seek to solve problems at their source before they blossom into something bigger and more troublesome.
Chiropractic care does not end when you leave the office
Chiropractic adjustment seeks to apply a controlled force to a spinal joint in order to move it back into alignment with the rest of the spine, thus alleviating compression from nearby nerves, correcting the body’s physical function and structural alignment and balancing the muscles in the back. Many people find that they experience significantly less pain and enjoy a greater range of motion immediately after a chiropractic adjustment. By alleviating nerve compression and aligning the spine, significant improvements are made in a person’s range of motion and, thus, flexibility. But what happens when you leave the office?
Swimming is a highly effective, low stress exercise. As aerobic workouts go, it is one of the best because it builds and tones muscle without dealing stress to joints, as is the case with running. It is a whole-body exercise that can benefit anyone from the fittest athlete to someone suffering a musculoskeletal limitation. With the weather continually hovering high, it also feels great to take a dip. Here is how swimming helps improve your overall wellness:
- Respiratory health: swimming increases your lung capacity because it is denser than air, forcing your body to work harder in order to supply oxygen to its vital processes. As you swim more and more, your body will acclimatize to this higher work rate and you will see a noticeable uptick in respiratory health.
- Flexibility: improve range-of-motion and lengthening muscles, being in the water is one of the best ways to become more flexible.
- Encouraging weight loss: you are burning calories without feeling it the way you would during a run. A swim is a total-body workout that contains none of the strains inherent in running.
- Promoting happiness and mental health: being in the water can improve your mood. When you first step in the pool, just let yourself float for a few seconds and feel the tension and gravity melt away.
The resistance of the water provides a natural muscle-builder. From a chiropractor’s perspective, swimming is a no-brainer activity because it provides maximum reward while containing the lowest amount of impact inherent in any sport. If you are comfortable in the water, we urge you to take advantage of the pool, lake or ocean and swim a few laps for your health. For help on optimizing your health this summer, give our office a call.
Dr. Randall Holmes, D.C.
At Holmes Chiropractic, we remember the summer days of our youth with fondness. It is a time of endless adventure and free time in the sun with friends and family. Here are a few ways to maximize the enjoyment of summer for your entire family.
- Vitamin D: get the whole family outside to soak up the sun, boosting immune function and bone health. This is especially important for young children.
- Take breaks and seek shade: direct sun exposure for hours on end can be harmful, so make sure that you take regular breaks and hydrate, because you will be losing more water than usual with the heat.
- Use sunscreen without the following ingredients: PABA, 4-MBC, OMC, Homosalate or Benzophene-3. Cheap sunscreen contains a lot of chemicals that may be more harmful to our bodies than the sunlight.
- Snacks: kids and adults alike can revel in the enjoyment of fresh fruit and veggies from the farmers market. A focus here should be on fresh produce rather than processed fats and sugars.
Kids and parents alike can also benefit from chiropractic care. As we are more active in the summer, our risk for injury is much higher. This means that a regular chiropractic treatment can save you from hours of pain down the road. Give our office in Houston a call at (713) 862-2440.
Dr. Randall Holmes, D.C.